Basics About Donation

What organs and tissues can be donated?

  • Organs - Kidney, Liver, Heart, Lung, Pancreas and Small Intestine
  • Tissue - Cornea/Eye, Skin, Bone, Tendons, Heart Valves and Veins

Who can donate?

Almost anyone can be a donor. At the time of death, transplant physicians determine the medical suitability of organs, tissue and corneas.

Do you have to be a certain age to donate?

No. Because people of all ages are in need of transplants, there is no age requirement for donors.

How can I register my donation decision?

When you renew your driver's license, they will ask you if you would like to be a donor. If you elect to be a donor, a red heart will be placed on your license.

You can also register your decision on online on our website. This website also serves as Indiana's only online registry.

Why can't anyone who has registered to be a donor be an organ donor?

Cardiac and respiratory functions are essential to keep organs functioning for transplantation. Therefore, only people who have suffered brain death can be organ donors.

What is brain death?

Brain death occurs as a result of a severe injury to the head or a brain hemorrhage. The brain swells and obstructs its own blood supply. Without blood flow, all brain tissue dies. Therefore, all brain function stops. Brain death is permanent and irreversible. Cardiac and respiratory functions, however, can still function mechanically for a few days, making donation possible.

How is it determined who gets a transplant?

Patients waiting for a transplant are listed with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). When a donor is identified, the donor's blood type, tissue type, body weight and size are matched against the list of patients currently waiting for a transplant. The severity of the potential recipient's illness and his or her time on the waiting list are also considered.

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